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Brooke Wolff doesn't stand out from all the other blue-eyed, sandy-haired, fair-faced seniors pictured in the 1993 Highlands Ranch High School yearbook. But while other graduates' names are followed by lists of activities--band, color guard, honor roll, swimming--Wolff's stands alone. "My high school is like Beverly Hills 90210--there's cappuccino and frozen yogurt in the lunchroom," she says. "A lot of teenagers don't understand there's a whole world outside Highlands Ranch. They hang out here and are protected from everything--it's really sheltered. And it's almost all white." Meet Wolff, Brooke--Skinheads, Ku Klux Klan. Future career plans? Heading her own den of Klansmen.
The nineteen-year-old is a rising star in Colorado's small KKK cadre, and already one of the country's few visible female Klan representatives. Although Wolff has yet to attend the Klan's national leadership school--she plans to travel to Arkansas this summer for tutoring by national Grand Wizard Thom Robb himself--she's already a successful KKK recruiter. She served as mistress of ceremonies at this January's anti-Martin Luther King Day rally. And she's mastered the Klan's latest line. "We don't hate," Wolff says. "We just love white people. I don't see what's wrong with caring about your own race." Robb started developing that theme back in 1992. "The Klan is not a hate group, but we are a LOVE group," he wrote in a recruitment newsletter. "We are a love group because we LOVE America and we LOVE our people. While we believe that Negroes have a right to black pride, we believe that you as a WHITE person also have the right to have WHITE PRIDE!"
Clearly, Wolff does. "I'm not some redneck with a hayseed sticking out of my mouth," she notes. "We call it `hate with a haircut,'" says Lawrence Jeffries, director of public information for the Center for Democratic Renewal, an Atlanta-based group that monitors Klan activities. "It's evidenced at their rallies--they don't wear robes and they don't say `nigger' or `kike.' Now they're simply referring to themselves as pro-white, pro-America patriots."
"It's like, just because you love your children, it doesn't mean you're going to hate the neighbors' children," Wolff explains. "You're just going to care for your children more."
Wolff wants to marry a Klan member and raise her kids in the Klan community. "It's a very loving environment," she says, and a good atmosphere for families.
"I saw this picture at a daycare center once with a black kid, a white kid and an Oriental kid holding hands around the world--I don't want my kids exposed to crap like that," she adds. "I have no time for people who don't believe as I do."
The Ku Klux Klan is a Christian group and doesn't tolerate drugs, Wolff says. Smoking, however, is apparently fine: She goes through two packs of Marlboro Lights during an interview at a Denver restaurant.
Otherwise, she could be the girl next door--as long as your next-door neighbors wear "No Remorse, White Pride" patches on their sleeves.
Wolff's superiors--Shawn Slater, head of the Colorado KKK, and Grand Wizard Robb--both say the young woman shows plenty of promise. "She's doing an outstanding job for us, especially with young people," says Slater. "She's brought in a lot of her friends. She has great leadership potential--Brooke can go as high in the leadership of the KKK as she wants."
Slater and Wolff have crossed paths before--several years ago, when both were skinheads. Wolff's earlier high school photos are far more revealing than the 1993 model: through sophomore year, her head was shaved.
"My mom thought I was a punk rocker," Wolff remembers. "She kept bringing out baby pictures and saying, `What did you do to your beautiful hair?'"
Robb says the Klan often gets recruits from the ranks of skinheads, as teenagers grow up and realize they want more direction than Doc Martens and White Power music offers. "Like Brooke and others, they don't want to spend their life without a job, dressed like a skinhead or in jail," he explains. "They want something constructive to do, and we give it to them."
Wolff portrays herself as a strong, well-adjusted young woman with few problems and a happy childhood. "I had everything I wanted growing up," she says. Still, she discovered something was missing when she first heard Robb speak at a Klan rally in Aurora in 1992. Afterward, she cornered him to find out what the KKK was all about. "I was really impressed," she remembers. "The Klan is more organized than the skinheads. I like that."
Robb doesn't recall that first meeting with Wolff, but has since come to know her. "She seems bright, she's got a lot of energy, she's not hotheaded," he says. "She seems truly concerned about the future of her possible children--we look for people like that, who have a positive outlook on life."
"The image I promote is positive," agrees Wolff. "I don't fit the stereotype--I'm a woman, I didn't join because of a man. I'm not subservient or submissive to anyone. I'm very independent."
After graduating from high school, Wolff moved out of her parents' house in Highlands Ranch and got a job as a cashier. She devotes the rest of her time to Klan activities, traveling to rallies across the country when she isn't promoting the KKK in Colorado. Wolff and her literature-dropping pals are the only active Klan group in the area, according to Bobbie Towbin of the Anti-Defamation League of the B'nai B'rith (ADL). And while Wolff says she won't pose for "silly pictures in the robes," that traditional KKK costume is featured prominently on her recruitment fliers. Leaflets tucked under windshield wipers at this year's stock show featured a hooded Klansman paraphrasing Uncle Sam: "I want YOU for the Ku Klux Klan." The flier listed a post office box and phone number--answered by Wolff's recorded voice--through which interested parties could get copies of the Klan newspaper, a membership application and advertisements hawking white supremacist T-shirts, KKK banners and anti-Malcolm X baseball caps. Rather than actively recruit members, Wolff says, she waits for like-minded individuals to come to her. "If people are interested, then they'll listen," she says. "If not, it's a lost cause. We don't force people to think like we do."